Review Paved Paradise – Review on FilmTotaal
Director: Karsten of Joy | Cast: Karsten de Vreugd, Hide Boersma | Time to play: 92 minutes | Year: 2022
You’ve probably seen him at a party or in a pub: that man who may not be an expert on something, but still has a lot to say about it. When someone else is speaking, he doesn’t listen but looks for a suitable moment to come back to himself. paved paradise it’s what you get when someone like that makes a documentary: the director likes to take aim with the camera and microphone, when it should be about the importance of our planet.
Something that’s organic sounds so much better, especially greener. Unfortunately, climate activists are wrong about that. Vegetarianism is a good solution, but otherwise organic is the worst form of farming because it absorbs much more nature than a normal farm. Filmmaker Karsten de Vreugd and expert Hidde Boersma demonstrate this and look for better solutions, which is very important as the Dutch government is increasingly considering organic.
According to many, the fact that the biological is not the solution is not a theory but a fact. You can tell that in twelve minutes in a fun way and without fuss on the YouTube channel Kurtzgesagt (Is meat really that bad?). Or in forty minutes through this documentary. Although it is twice as long, it repeats the message very often and has many interruptions because Hidde and Karsten really want to be funny.
In a documentary it is better to let your guest speak. De Vreug sometimes interrupts with questions, that’s allowed. But also with empty comments (“I love it!”) and as if he knew so much about it. His guests tolerate it out of courtesy, but luckily there is also someone who indicates that his comment is not an argument.
The tone that is set in the first few minutes is also dangerously clumsy. How stupid is our government and how stupid is this biological thing. It’s not inconceivable that conspiracy spreaders milk these images on social media, while the message is that farms really are a problem. Of course that’s not true somewhere, we need them for our food supply, but humanity keeps reproducing like rabbits. paved paradise He doesn’t deny it, but he doesn’t pay attention to it either.
After forty minutes, the documentary finally breaks free of the repetitive message about organic farming and creates more space for possible solutions. They have to come from people higher up. Karsten and Hidde have certainly done their best to grab someone from above and start a conversation with them, but it’s heartbreaking to see them make no progress. Only a man from the European Parliament speaks to you. He totally agrees with them, but unfortunately shares that he also finds walls everywhere.
For the two gentlemen, the conclusion is in Costa Rica. In the 1980s, that country had a ‘young’ president whose government was not made up of old politicians, but rather fresher people with expertise in their field. This ensured that nature acquired financial value and changed the entire mentality of the population: a tree went from being useless to being valuable. Costa Rica has been an economically stable country for many years.
paved paradise loses points for style and insincerity. A man sings while playing the guitar. A wider shot reveals that the creators deliberately placed it there to forcefully capture a beautiful moment. In that sense, the documentary is extremely staged. The jokes are also put very deliberately. Every once in a while it feels like a fashion influencer has been given a bag of money to do something about an issue they care about.
Also half a point less for sound editing. Here and there, music and voice play asynchronously, creating an echo effect. Half a point more for the beautiful images of the virgin jungle in Costa Rica, and the fact that the documentary shares an important message in a twisted way: we are heading towards a destruction that we ourselves cause. And only we can change that by making it clear that we are willing to compromise.